2018 "Don't mess with Texas" Scholarship Winners Announced
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2018 "Don't mess with Texas" Scholarship Winners Announced

Contest rewards high school seniors for creative litter prevention in their communities

AUSTIN – Congratulations to three high school seniors selected as winners in the 2018 “Don’t mess with Texas” scholarship contest. Dalton Shaw of W.W. Samuell High School in Dallas was chosen as the grand prize winner and received a $6,000 scholarship. Brittany Nation of Richland High School in North Richland Hills and Andrew Wagner of St. Paul High School in Shiner each received a $2,000 scholarship. The scholarships are presented annually in partnership with Keep Texas Beautiful and recognize the achievements of high school seniors who demonstrate a leadership role in preventing litter in their schools and communities while building awareness of the “Don’t mess with Texas” litter-prevention campaign. The 2018 scholarships were sponsored by iHeartMedia and PunchDrunk Digital.

“We’re excited to recognize these students with scholarships for their proactive approach to preventing litter in Texas,” said Becky Ozuna, program administrator for TxDOT’s “Don’t mess with Texas” campaign. ”Their efforts will inspire others to join in keeping our state looking clean and beautiful.”

Grand prize winner Shaw created a fun and attention-grabbing visual project at his high school consisting of brightly colored posters with clever anti-litter messaging to encourage students to take pride in their school. The posters were hung in high-traffic student areas including the cafeteria, gym and bus stop to serve as a deterrent to littering. Additionally, Dalton rallied his community to form a volunteer group to clean up trash in areas around lakes, streams and creeks to protect nature and wildlife. Dalton plans to attend Oklahoma Baptist University to study mathematics and education.

Inspired by Earth Day, Nation wanted to keep the awareness going year-round. She formed the Earth Day Leadership program in which she recruited friends, family, fellow students and neighbors to host clean-up events at five school campuses, three parks, numerous neighborhoods and along Texas roadways. Nation also committed time to speak to students about the importance of recycling and properly disposing of trash. This led her to create a new movement called “Ten Tuesdays” in which she encourages students to pick up 10 pieces of trash on Tuesdays while walking home from school. Brittany plans to attend Texas Tech University to study sociology and criminology. 

Motivated by his dream of reaching the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout, Wagner chose a project that would transform his community and keep the city of Shiner true to its moniker as the “The Cleanest Little City in Texas.” After noticing two trash bins at his neighborhood park were often overflowing, causing trash to blow out of the can, Andrew knew a solution was needed. He devised a plan using donated community resources, met with Shiner’s city council and enlisted the help of the city’s parks department. He and seven other scouts worked to install three new 32-gallon commercial trash receptacles at the park, along with new picnic tables to further beautify the green space. Wagner plans to attend the University of Texas at Austin to study biology.

“Don’t mess with Texas” has been educating Texans about litter prevention since 1986. The campaign is the signature initiative for TxDOT’s litter prevention initiatives which include Adopt-a-Highway, a grassroots partnership with Keep Texas Beautiful and the community outreach and cleanup event — the Don’t Mess with Texas Trash-Off. For additional information on “Don’t mess with Texas,” visit Dontmesswithtexas.org.

For media inquiries, contact TxDOT Media Relations at MediaRelations@txdot.gov or (512) 463-8700.

Media contact
Media Relations
August 02, 2018